What’s In Your (Handspun) Stash?

If you’re considering weaving with your handspun yarn –
If  you think weaving might be a good way to use up some of the growing collection of yarns  in your stash –
You might also be wondering which (if any) of your handspun yarns are suitable for weaving.

So how do you find out?
You could grab a few skeins, start weaving and see what happens.
And choosing an impromptu, spontaneous approach might work for you – it might even lead to some unbelievably fabulous fabric.

But if you’re familiar with weaving, you’ll probably agree:  It takes a considerable amount of time to prepare.

And it’s not just about getting the loom ready.

Choosing the right yarn for the project and calculating how much yarn you need are significant steps in the process.

When you decide you want to try weaving with your handspun yarn – you need to know what you have.  Take a good look at what’s in your stash.  You may want to begin by sorting and analyzing – matching colors and characteristics but I think there’s something else to take care of first.

Pick up a skein of your handspun yarn.  Can you look at it and immediately say without question what type of fiber it is and how many yards of it you have?

If not, no matter how soft or strong, thin or thick,  no matter how beautiful (or ugly) you think your handspun is, – if you don’t know what it is and how much you have, the yarn isn’t ready.  Not ready to choose (or sort, or determine whether or not it’s suitable) – and not ready to use.

My advice – if you’re not doing this already – start labeling your skeins.

Photo of handspun yarn skeins using string tags as temporary labels
Some of my handspun yarn labeled and ready. Next stop: a storage bin labeled "Handspun Yarns for Weaving"

Whether you’re weaving with yarn strictly from your stash or you’re willing and able to augment your supply from another source, it’s in your best interest to have a way of recognizing what you have – before you try to figure out what to do with it.

Sometimes you can alter the project to ‘fit’ the yarn.  Sometimes you can make more yarn to fit the project.  But either way, you need to start where you are – and part of that is knowing (and understanding) what you have to work with.

If you don’t (yet) have a way to attach important information to your skeins of handspun yarn consider this: every time to handle those skeins, every time you consider whether or not it’s ‘suitable’ for a project, the same question comes up – what (exactly) is it, and how much of it do you have?

Why not eliminate that question and move past wondering?

It doesn’t have to be a big deal.  If you’re looking for a quick and easy, inexpensive way to label your skeins, try these:

Photo of string tags used to label handspun yarn skeins
String tags are an easy and inexpensive way to label your skeins of handspun yarn.

String tags are your friends.  Buy some or make your own.

I use string tags on all my handspun skeins.   And because I only attach one of these tags after the skein is finished – (wetted or washed, twist set, skein dried and yardage re-measured) the presence of a string tag on one of my skeins is like a big (or little) white flag that says “ready”.

Ready to use, ready to label for sale, or ready to save/store for later.

The information on these tags might only include yardage after finishing, dry weight and fiber type – but that’s enough for me to compare what I have, to what I need, for what I want to weave.  Any other information I choose to keep is recorded  in a separate spinning notebook.

Labeling deserves a place in your spinning routine, however you plan to use your yarn.

Think of it as a gift to yourself.  Having the information you need – right at your fingertips – can save you time in the long run.
Time you might rather spend spinning and weaving.

So – How do you know what’s in your handspun stash?

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Weaving With Handspun Yarn – What’s Your Approach?

Do you have a stash of yarn you’ve spun and wonder how you can use it in a weaving project?
Or, do you have a project in mind and wonder how to spin the yarn so you can use it for weaving?

There are different challenges and rewards depending on which approach you choose to take.

If you start with yarn you’ve already spun – the yarn determines the project.

Photo of a variety of handspun yarns, different sizes, different colors, different weights.
What can I weave with these?

If you decide to start spinning specifically for a project – the project determines the yarn.

Photo of yarn spun specifically for weaving
Handspun yarn for a handwoven scarf

I think the second route is easier and more satisfying.

Maybe it’s because it’s easier for me to start with a picture in my mind of the kind of fabric I want to make – and then go do that.

Maybe it’s because I think it’s more satisfying to spin to a standard rather than just hope I have it right – and end up disappointed with the results.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t come up with the ideal project for all (any?) of the yarns I made before I learned how to control my spinning.

What about you? What’s your approach to weaving with handspun yarn?
Are you wondering where to start?

In upcoming posts, I’ll be sharing some of the things I’ve learned about weaving with my own yarns, and offering some tips about how you can start weaving with yours.  Let me know what you think.  What works for you?  What would you like to know before you start warping your loom for handspun handwoven fabric?

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio